It’s Not Enough to Dance for Fun

I didn’t dance much in the first month of 2023. Modern dance class was on a break, and I missed a couple Saturday Zumba classes. It starts to affect my mood when I don’t get my dancing on. Throwing on a 90s hip hop station on Pandora and doing a little kitchen dancing helps, but it’s not the same as going into the studio. I start to miss the challenge of class, testing myself with different exercises and routines. Dancing for fun is great and always a good mood booster, but in the long term, I need more for my dance soul to feel fulfilled.

As I grew as a ballroom dancer, I evolved from being a social dancer to a showcase performer to a competitor. Once at the competitive level, I found social dancing wasn’t as fulfilling as it used to be. It was still fun, to a degree, when I was asked to dance. It just didn’t leave me as satisfied as a weekend bootcamp or a master workshop where I was encouraged to stretch beyond what was easy and comfortable.

Since moving to Maine, my dance journey shifted to a theme of releasing. I took a much needed rest from the expectations of others around what my best dancing “should” look like and the pressure of always pushing the definition of what my best was. Here, I let loose in Zumba class and played with expression in Modern without any “supposed tos” hanging over my head.

Pushing myself wasn’t just for the satisfaction of my dance coaches or judges though; I got great satisfaction in meeting the challenges in dance and discovering how much more capable of a dancer I was. Growing as a dancer helped me grow into a happier and more confident person.

After the dance drought in January, I decided it was time to add more dance training to my calendar. I really enjoyed the challenge of ballet, so one of the first things I did was seek out another adult ballet class. I start on Tuesday with a beginner/intermediate class. If I don’t find it challenging enough, the same teacher offers an intermediate/advanced class on Thursdays. It’ll be interesting to see how my body reacts to taking modern on Mondays and ballet the very next day.

I’ve also been missing hip hop! Way back in 2016-2017, I dabbled in hip hop for a few months. It was great fun and a huge challenge for me as a dancer, since the movement is so different from ballroom. The consistent comment I got from the teacher of those classes was “that was good, but try to make it less ballroom-y next time.” Curious that I should come across recent Instagram posts about a hip hop class on Sunday evenings. The only catch is the class is about an hour and 20 minutes away. What do you think? Should I make the drive?

I know there are plenty of options to learn hip hop through prerecorded virtual classes, but I find it difficult to jump into virtual dance training. Not having a dedicated dance space at home doesn’t help, but it also just isn’t the same as being in the room with other dancers who are dedicated to their craft and find joy in the process. Thinking back on my solo practice Sundays, I’m also considering renting an hour or two at a studio to give myself time in the proper setting to work and play with my dancing. Maybe #SoloPracticeSunday will make a comeback!

One thing at a time though. I have a habit of wanting to do all the things all at once when I have an idea that I like. That’s what happened when I first tried to put structure to my solo dance practice. I had mapped out a practice plan that included every single day of the week. Nevermind that I worked full time, had two dogs, and ran a blog. Yeah, that didn’t last long. Starting with one day, once a week, like I describe in The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing, is what ended up making the most difference in my dancing.

So we’ll start with one addition to my current dancing – ballet – and see how it goes.

Sometimes I miss the competitions and performances of the last chapter of my dance journey, and I ponder different ways I could get back on stage or back on the competition floor. If I’m honest, all of them involve more time and money than I’m willing to spend in this season. Instead, I believe I need to be patient and open to the possibilities. No need to rush. Coincidentally, I just saw a video on social media of a 92 year old woman at a ballroom competition and right after that, a video of “Senior Swans” dancing a ballet sequence. I think I’ve got time to figure out where this dance journey is going to take me next.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Not Enough to Dance for Fun

  1. Carolyn Page says:

    “I think I’ve got time to figure out where this dance journey is going to take me next.”
    I agree! At age 73 (later this month) I have headed back to private lessons and then on to the comp floor soon.
    As long as we are healthy and fit there’s no reason why ‘the dance’ shouldn’t be a part of our lives; no matter our age.

    Liked by 1 person

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